I Hate Applications

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

One of the most common complaints that job seekers have is, “Why do I have to fill out a (*#!*!!#$) application? Everything they need to know is in the resume.”

Several years ago, a banking client hired a well­-qualified person for a difficult to fill a software engineering job. About a week after the person started, they discovered the individual had lied about having a college degree. Security met them at their desk with a shoebox of their possessions as they returned to work from lunch on the Friday of their first week of employment.

Employment applications are a legal document; resumes are not. If you look at most applications, the potential employer provides a caution or warning that says something to the effect of, “Lying on an application is grounds for dismissal.” Since most background and reference checks are completed after you have started your new job, an application notifies a potential employee of a risk.

They also provide a simple snapshot of a person’s writing skills (and penmanship for that matter) and attention to detail that a resume cannot.

All applications are somewhat similar, so to create the best impression you can, as well as to save time when filling them out, create your own master employment application. List former jobs, making sure you have the correct addresses, telephone numbers, and the dates of your employment. Use this as your “sample form” when filling out a real application.

If you are unsure about a specific month that you started a job several years ago or a salary that you were paid, DON’T JUST GUESS! Add the phrase “approx” (for approximately) next to the item. This tells the interviewer that you are not sure of the exact month or salary and that you don’t want to lie when filling out the form.

Don’t leave questions blank. Insert a dash or N/A (for not applicable) if it doesn’t pertain to you. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. One of the advantages of having a master form is that if your spelling is not perfect, you have a place where you have written the word down previously and have spelled it correctly.

Try to write neatly. It’s not that great penmanship will get you the job but poor handwriting is noticed.

Lavender may be a nice scent for the bathtub but a poor choice of ink colors when filling out a form. Stick with blue or black ink when completing them. Some firms scan answers into systems that won’t recognize any other color.

DON’T LIE! In good or bad employment markets, nothing is worth having to explain to your friends and family why, after telling them so much about your job hunting journeys, after telling them you (finally) have a job, after telling people that you were enjoying the new job, after finally feeling comfortable, there is no worse moment than seeing security at your desk.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2008, 2011, 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a free Discovery call.

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